Milk Income Loss Contract program escapes budget cuts -- for now

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Even though Milk Income Contract Loss payments have been temporarily suspended, they should resume soon and are not subject to the latest budget-cutting moves by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  

Earlier this week, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said his agency would trim payments to 350,000 farmers by about $152 million to comply with automatic spending cuts known as "sequester."  

Vilsack said the money would come out of the $5 billion-a-year direct-payment subsidy, which is paid in the fall, to offset reductions due in three USDA programs, including the Milk Income Contract Loss program and two others, that have already disbursed money to farmers. 

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) temporarily suspended disbursement of payments for many FSA programs, starting on March 1. On March 19, the USDA notified Congress of its intention to transfer money from the direct payment program to other FSA programs. There is a 30-day Congressional notification period that must pass before the agency can move forward with this transfer. Therefore, payments in the following programs will continue to be deferred for the next 30 days: 2011 Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for both 2012 and 2013 crop years, and the Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC). After 30 days, FSA intends to resume making these program payments in full.

Thursday morning, a USDA spokesperson issued the following statement to Dairy Herd Management:

“As the USDA implements sequestration, we are committed to carrying out these cuts in a manner that provides the least disruption to our customers. Using limited authority available in FSA programs, USDA will reduce direct payments in order to avoid requiring about 350,000 producers to refund  a portion of the payments they have already received through other programs. This action will also save American taxpayers significant administrative costs that would be required to recoup these payments. While USDA's efforts will minimize disruption to the extent possible, we cannot mitigate the negative effects that cuts of this magnitude will have on our mission. We continue to urge Congress to replace sequestration with balanced deficit reduction.”


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Texas  |  March, 19, 2013 at 09:01 PM

Well, we knew it wouldn't come out of the majority of the USDA budget, the Food Stamp (SNAP) program, didn't we? Couldn't be taking food from the mouths of the regimes low-info voter peeps, could we? Wonder who USDA didn't take the money out of those Pigford payments? I bet those fake farmers got their full payment, for risking NOTHING! I'm tired of being the fall guy for such insignificant amounts of money. Keep your direct payments, they amount to chicken-feed anyway. While we are at it, get the Feds out of the crop insurance business. It is a racket. Farmers are forced to buy crop ins, but it is set up so that it doesn't pay unless we have a total weather wipe-out. In 2012 my cotton was blown out, washed out, hailed out and suffered an unseasonably early freeze - yet, I was eligible for NO claim because I nursed a half a crop out of what Mother Nature left me. We can't buy crop ins without being in USDA's Farm program. That is un-American. Capitalism unleashed, is the answer.

tx  |  March, 20, 2013 at 06:58 AM

When it finally doesn't go your way now you are upset. I bet you spend more time at the FSA office than you do trying to make money.

Bill Stanley    
Texas  |  March, 20, 2013 at 08:07 AM

The amount should have been in the billions, not millions. Get farmers off welfare. newsandopinions dot net

MT  |  March, 20, 2013 at 09:05 AM

Less than $500 out of each of our hides? This dreadful sequestration was going to utterly destroy everyone and everything but now it will be just $500 per? Ha ha, you government jerks can keep your precious $500 and take a flying leap. I wish the sequestration would have eliminated USDA completely. Getting rid of all of them would insure we get the deadwood and closet anti-agriculture scabs the hell out of there. I am loving this sequestration thing. Only wish it was bigger.

Michigan  |  March, 20, 2013 at 11:15 AM

I am not alone in saying that we do not need to feed at the government trough anymore. Profits are way up as long as the rains come! If they don’t, we’ll irrigate or move to a more humid area and start over. There has never been a better time to farm and there aren't that many more folks out there that can. Farming in the future will pay very well on its own.

Tommy N.    
GA  |  March, 20, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Let's not get believing the good times will roll on forever. There will be ups and downs, just like always. But now the government crop insurance is the so-called safety net and you have to be really down, like flat on your back in quicksand with your hands and feet tied together down, before insurance kicks in. Then it only pays enough to tempt you to stay in the game when you're now too broke to really play. It will hurt like hell but TX-T is right. We need to be rid of USDA and be men (and women) enough to get up from the table and try a new game when we go bust. Just go bust and put it behind you. Don't keep crawling and fighting for scraps. It doesn't help the industry for government to help us keep producing while we slowly finish failing over a lifetime. Let 'em keep the subsidy money. It isn't that much anymore anyway. Do away with USDA.

da upper    
Mich UP  |  March, 21, 2013 at 01:12 PM

Walking back the official rhetoric, massaging the talking points. We've gone from *complete and utter apocalypse* to *probably gloom and doom* to *we need you give back the money* to *oh, forget it - false alarm*. How did we ever get lulled into trusting any of these blockheaded clods in the first place. Vilsack stands up and lies right to us. He is nothing more than an Obama tool. Sack Vilsack.

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